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How to Demonstrate Your Intranet Delivers Value

  |  January 29, 2003   |  Comments

Assessing the value of your intranet (or justifying a budget to build one).

The days of having an intranet just because "it's a good idea" are over. As a manager, you need to deliver hard data that justifies investment in your intranet. You must show a dollar spent on your intranet delivers more value than a dollar spent elsewhere. Otherwise, your budget will shrink.

When should you choose your intranet as compared with other forms of communication (verbal, print)?

  • When you need to get information quickly and cost effectively to a large number of people who are geographically dispersed

  • When you require a consistent, trustworthy message to be communicated

  • When your knowledge is changing rapidly

  • When you can use your intranet to effectively automate processes

Your Intranet Can Deliver Information Quickly and Cost Effectively

An expert communicates well to only a small number of people. Print content lacks a personal touch. However, it can communicate to a lot more people and a lot more quickly.

Your intranet can inform a large number of people more quickly than verbal or print communications. For a large organization, an intranet can be a more cost effective way to communicate. Verbal communication is slow and expensive. Print content has a relatively high fixed cost per copy.

The cost per view of a particular piece of intranet content is negligible. Reaching 10,000 people is not that much more expensive than reaching 5,000. Thus, for reaching large numbers of people, the intranet is a cost-effective medium.

Your Intranet Can Deliver Consistent, Trusted Information

So much information swirls around your organization. How do people know what the real stuff is? Your intranet can become the trusted source for the latest, most accurate, and most logically explained information on your products, processes, and strategies.

Your Intranet Can Be Consistently Up to Date

The business world changes rapidly. This means the knowledge you require to operate efficiently changes, too. This is a major drawback of print content. It's rapidly outdated. Intranet content can be quickly updated to reflect new knowledge.

Your Intranet Can Effectively Automate Processes

There are many cumbersome and inefficient processes within organizations. For example, how much does it cost every time a staff member needs to change his home address in the HR database? What's the annual cost of these changes?

Suppose your intranet allowed employees to access and update their personal information themselves. Wouldn't that increase efficiency and reduce costs?

Justifying Investment in Your Intranet

There are two basic ways you can justify investment in your intranet:

  • Show how it creates new value by expanding your ability to communicate.

  • Show how it increases productivity and reduces costs when compared with other forms of communication.

To show your intranet creates new value, establish measures of how you presently communicate internally. Are staff satisfied they are getting the information they need to do their jobs well?

You can obtain hard financial data by comparing the cost of your traditional communication processes (print, personal) with replacement intranet processes.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gerry McGovern Gerry McGovern is a Web consultant and author. His most recent books are Content Critical and The Web Content Style Guide, published by Financial Times Prentice Hall.

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